Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Spicy Tomato-Tomatillo Chicken Tenders

(Printable Recipe)
How about tenderlicious chicken smothered in a quick sauce of tomatoes, garlic, leeks, and tomatillos, baked up with just enough cream and mozzarella to make it seem decadent? Are you with me? Well, now that I've given you the whole recipe, go and whip it up - blogster is out to lunch.

Nah, as always, I have obsessively detailed pictures and directions for you so let's get at it.

Here's my take from the Farmer's Market this weekend: beautiful heirloom tomatoes (I asked for the best cooking tomatoes, meaty and light on the acid), some of those funny green tomatillos, and nice young leeks so small they look almost like scallions. Not interchangeable! Leeks seem tough when you slice them but their flavor is oniony but wonderfully mild and just a little heat almost makes them melt.

So start by washing everything up. Pull the husks from the tomatillos; they'll be quite sticky but only need a good rinse under the tap. The leeks may be another story because they can hold a lot of soil and grit. Rinse them and slice to the end of the white part, then swish around and soak well in a big bowl of water to get any soil from between the layers.

Let these soak while you chop the tomatillos in half and quarter the tomatoes, or eighth the larger ones. I think they're actually easiest to peel after cutting them up. Thought you read that wrong, didn't you? Well, try it. The skin usually comes off in an easy single piece or two with no need to blanch them first or anything else if you peel the cut pieces.

See, I have a picture to prove it:

What is NOT in the pictures above is the hot pepper you need to add! (How did I miss that??) Chop one fresh Serrano, jalapeno, or hot pepper of your choice, discarding seeds if you can't take the heat. I wear surgical gloves to handle them, even if it's just one pepper.
Now, drain the leeks and throw everything in a pot with 3 or 4 cloves of peeled garlic. Pour on just enough chicken broth to cover. We want to simmer the lot long enough to soften everything up, so add about 1 tbs. salt, cover, and when it comes to a boil reduce the heat and let it go for about 10 minutes.   When ready, scoop the vegetables into the food processor with liquid no more than half as deep as vegetables to help keep everything moving as you process into a puree.
Save that delicious broth for soup!

You'll probably end up with twice as much of this sauce as you need. It freezes perfectly in a ziplock bag, though, so save it for later! For now, just pour an even layer over the chicken tenders so they are smothered in the sauce.

1/4 cup Half&Half - 1 cup Mozzarella

Drizzle with the Half & Half. Don't worry, it will mix together as it cooks.

Top with the mozzarella. We're baking these tenders
at 350 for about 20 minutes until chicken is just cooked through, but they could be simmered in a skillet covered in this sauce as well. To brown the top it would have to go under the broiler just a minute or so. Don't wait for the cheese to brown in the oven either or the chicken could get tough, instead of tender tenders. It's better to put them under the broiler to brown the cheese if you want it that way.

Voila, la finished dish!

 SummerFest at the Food Network website (FN Dish) is back! Once again, you'll find my foodie blogs on the Food Network along with other great food lovin' bloggers, offering up our best ideas for your Farmer's Market finds all summer long. Each week we'll be blogging together with the FN Dish to produce fabulous ways to enjoy your produce!  This week, it's tomatoes, next week Peppers. Check out these delicious other great ideas:

Cooking With Elise: Fresh Tomato Sauce
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Tomato Gazpacho Salsa
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Tomato Cobbler Anyone?
Virtually Homemade: Spaghetti With Tomatoes, Prosciutto and Fresh Corn
What's Gaby Cooking: Chicken Kebabs With Romesco Sauce
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Salmon Spaghetti With Plum Tomatoes and Avocado
Feed Me Phoebe: Roasted Fresh Tomato Puttanesca Sauce
Chez Us: Easy Tomato Tart
Made By Michelle: Tomato and Pesto Pizza
Ingredients, Inc.: Lighter Fried Green Tomatoes
Delicious Lean: Creamy Light Tuna Salad Stuffed Tomatoes
From My Corner of Saratoga: Tomato Jam
Dishin & Dishes: Tomato Zucchini Frittata
And Love It Too: Roasted Garlic, Basil and Tomato Paleo Tart
Healthy Eats: The Fresh-for-Once Tomato
Sweet Life Bake: Pico de Gallo
Zaika Zabardast: Grilled Tofu and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Sandwich
Thursday Night Dinner: Tomato and Watermelon Salad
Cooking Channel: How to Prepare Summer Tomatoes
FN Dish: Tomatoes Go Beyond Salads

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